The fifth meeting of the European Network of Rail Training Centres (ENRTC) took place in Madrid on 22nd and 23rd of October 2009, at RENFE facilities.
The key objective of the network, which brings together major European training providers, from both commercial and non commercial training centres, is to contribute to the liberalisation of the European rail training market, by enabling active professional dialogue between rail training professionals to support interoperability.
The meeting was attended by 23 participants from 11 countries (Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland and private providers) representing some 14 training providers.
It provided the opportunity for the audience to get acquainted with RENFE training policy and activities. Carlos Yanes, the newly appointed Training Director opened the meeting with a presentation about training at the RENFE, underlying the use of e learning as a corporate strategic tool. His presentation was followed by more in depth presentations on the use of multimedia environment and elearning, as well as the use of the driving simulator. The different presentations enabled many exchanges between the RENFE training Directors and the Network.
Part of the meeting was also devoted to the Network’s activity and work programme as well as to the presentations of related training or HR projects pertinent to the network’s activity.
The latest were related to two projects: Trainer (Training programme to increase energy efficiency by Railways) and Futurail (Job opportunities for the railway community of tomorrow)
Hub Cox from SenterNovem (agency of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, promoting sustainable development and innovation, both within the Netherlands and abroad ) co-ordinator of the European Trainer project informed the network of the Trainer project and its deliverables, namely a virtual trainer(a software interactive tool for training the drivers in energy efficiency) and a universal manual containing general guidelines for training in energy efficiency.
Manuel Pereira, professor at the IST of Lisboa (Instituto Superiore Tecnico) and vice president of ERRAC (European Rail Research Advisory Council) joined the meeting to present the current Futurail project. IST is the co-ordinator of the project together with partners from European universities and the UIC Expertise Development Unit.
The Futurail project aims to contribute to the enhancement of the railway sector by fostering a better match between the skills provided by the different research based education and training institutions across Europe and the railway industry needs, in order to make railways a more competitive and innovative sector.
A round table discussion on the current issues facing the Training centres, in the context of the economic recession showed that however different the situation may be in each country, most training centres are currently undergoing organizational changes, downsizing staff being a recurrent theme.
While some training providers are giving more focus on marketing & account managers, some are taking up the stance of changing the training approaches and redesigning the courses (investment in new technologies), so as to better respond to the cut in the investment in training and the still high expectations regarding the quality of training.
The next meeting of the network is scheduled on 20 and 21 May, 2010 in Vienna, Austria.